Raging flames devoured a building before spreading to another in Clifton, New Jersey, Thursday afternoon — a fire that tore through a structure perilously close to a gas station and sent people running in the streets.
Several people were inside the building when the fire broke out on Lexington Avenue around 2:30 p.m. and quickly intensified, according to Fire Chief Frank Prezioso, eventually becoming a six-alarm blaze.
Angry orange flames chewed through the building as firefighters climbed ladders trying to get inside looking for people who may have been hurt. According to Prezioso, one woman who was in the shower at the time the inferno broke out had to be rescued from the second floor.
At one point, a firefighter was seen carrying a dog down a ladder and running to safety. Unfortunately, a paramedic told News 4, that the dog passed away despite efforts to resuscitate it. Several cats were also inside the building. It is unclear what their conditions are.
Projectiles were later seen flying from the windows as firefighters retreated for their own protection. Two police officers suffered smoke inhalation injuries and were treated at the scene, but thankfully no one else was hurt.
Officials said the gas station being so close to the fire was not a big cause for concern because winds were blowing in the opposite direction.
At least 21 people, including four families, were displaced as a result of the flames, according to the Red Cross, who placed those impacted in a hotel.
A cause of the blaze at the building, which had a debris-littered lawn and fire-induced debris littering what appeared to be a back driveway, remains under investigation.